Ports are about much more than just hauling fish ashore

Denmark’s commercial ports are bubbling with ferries, warehousing and logistics, freight transport, reloading from ships to trains or trucks and processing of fish. This produces many tasks for commercial property estate agents with local knowledge and industry insight, says Mads Dyhr from EDC Erhverv Poul Erik Bech.

“There are lots of activities at the ports in Denmark, and the activities differ widely at the various ports. In my area here in Northern Jutland, Hirtshals is, for example, the gateway to Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and Frederikshavn has a shipyard, naval station, ferry services to Sweden and Norway and the recycling of scrap from ships and oil rigs. Skagen and Hanstholm are large fishing ports, and Aalborg has a lot of shipping and logistics.”

This is how Mads Dyhr, Director and Partner in EDC Erhverv Poul Erik Bech Vendsyssel, lists some of the activities in the local ports, which, precisely in North Jutland, are of extra importance to the regional economy and jobs.

However, at national level, ‘Blue Denmark’ – including ports, maritime transport and fisheries – actually accounts for almost 100,000 jobs and handles 80% of Danish exports and imports. This means lively activity at the ports of Denmark – also for estate agents. At the same time, we had more than 100,000 ship calls with over 65 million tonnes of freight turnover in Denmark in 2019.

“In the past, the main source of income for the ports was dock dues in the form of payment for loaded/unloaded cargo, but now rent receipts are the largest income. The ports have large built-up areas, and here it’s interesting for many to rent or invest in building projects,” points out Mads Dyhr, who is in close dialogue with a number of ports in Northern Jutland.

New construction projects on ports

Among the tenants and investors on the ports are logistics companies, carriers and other haulage contractors, service companies, subcontractors, fish factories and other enterprises with ties to the fishing industry. This is especially true in Hanstholm, which is Denmark’s largest port for demersal fisheries and where many plaice, haddock, cod and pollack are landed, and not least in Skagen, which is Denmark’s largest fishing port and one of the world’s largest ports for pelagic fish, i.e. herring and mackerel.

“40-50% of the world’s matie – a particular favourite herring of the Dutch – come from Skagen. Here, FF Skagen A/S, one of the world’s largest producers of fishmeal and fish oil, produces 125,000 tonnes of fishmeal and oil, which are exported to more than 60 countries. In addition, Skagen has Karstensens Skibsværft, which is Denmark’s largest shipyard for building of new ships. In addition, a number of cruise ships and thousands of yachts call at Port of Skagen during the summer months,” says Mads Dyhr.

The many activities at and around the ports result in lettings as well as new builds and project development, for example when the ports regularly expand. Either the port capacity or land areas.

“At the moment, Hirtshals is tendering approximately 150,000 m2 of land for commercial property. Here it can be interesting for many businesses to establish themselves. Port of Hirtshals is Scandinavia’s multimodal logistics centre. Based on the location of Port of Hirtshals directly to the sea corridors in the North Sea, the coupling of ferry traffic, cargo traffic, road traffic and rail traffic is optimal in the efforts to create efficient transport solutions. The railway tracks run directly from the quay and all the way down to Southern Europe, and the E39 motorway is located close to the port, making it attractive to a very large number of companies,” says Mads Dyhr.

Precisely local knowledge is – together with industry insight – important for commercial property estate agents actively engaged in the port areas, he believes.

“This means that you know the local rent levels, you know what is happening, who is entering and exiting the business premises on a port, and you know where extensions are being planned. I have in-depth knowledge of the ports here in Northern Jutland, and I work with my colleagues in the rest of the Denmark, where we, as a nationwide chain of commercial property estate agents, have our finger on the pulse and many contacts at the vast majority of the many Danish ports,” says Mads Dyhr, who lives in Skagen and has worked in the region for 25 years, including for two regional banks.

Network of specialists

In EDC Erhverv Poul Erik Bech, he can use colleagues in 18 commercial property centres throughout Denmark as sounding boards. “In Jutland, I’m in close contact with my colleagues who are based in cities with large ports such as Esbjerg, Fredericia and Aarhus. On Zealand, this includes Køge, Næstved and Copenhagen. The colleagues with port expertise are in ongoing contact with each other and exchange, for example, news about port expansions, who are moving in and out of the ports, and news about companies looking for square metres at Danish ports. In connection with large-scale projects, we draw on experts in our many other EDC Commercial Property Centres and if it is about building homes at ports, we have over 60 nationwide residential property offices. Such nationwide collaboration is also a great gain in the establishment of retail trade, eateries or in connection with sales and lettings of commercial properties for warehouses and logistics,” says Mads Dyhr.

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